Saturday, July 14, 2012

the curious case of the green churidar

I do not know if it is old age, or the fact that from one day to the next you don the title of Senior Citizen, but for the past weeks I have been flooded by memories long forgotten. Many happy ones but some I am not that proud of.

Some days back my younger daughter asked me if I had one of her churidars in my cupboard as our clothes do often get mixed up post washing. This has been going on for quite some time and come to think of it we do wear each other's outfits quite often. My daughters have never found it odd and neither have I.

But this time the word churidar set of a Proustian reaction in my mind. I was transported to circa 1964 when I was 12. We were in Saigon no Ho Chi Min Ville. Those were the days of navy blue school uniforms and a few party outfits. The latest addition had been a green churidar kurta bought at Cottage Emporium. It was at that time a very prized possession. Mama always wore saris. Not quite always as I have seen pictures of her in trousers in the snow, but somehow in my memory she was always draped in her beautiful saris. On that fateful day, on a whim I guess, she decided to try on my new green churidar set. Mama was petite and did fit in the said outfit. She must have been tickled pink as she proudly walked into my room to show me how she looked.

I am not proud of what happened after. I threw a fit and starting crying and did not stop till she removed it and came back in my room in her sari. She quietly opened my cupboard and placed it on the shelf and left the room. I was sulking on my bed.

I must have apologised but have no memory of it. I sincerely hope I did. But I was a spoilt brat, spoiled by the abundant and unequivocal love bestowed on me my my wonderful parents. Today when I look back on this incident I wondered what it was that made me behave in such a terrible way. Was it that mama was no more mama when she wore my clothes? Had I an image of her that I did not want blemished. I know I was not a mean soul so there must have been a deeper reason, one that I cannot still understand.

My daughters have never grudged me wearing their clothes. I am ashamed of my behaviour and think it is time I apologised to mama. I know she has forgiven me. I can feel her presence.

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